DL1961 Denim Doctor digital kiosk

An iPad is leading DL1961 toward a strategy of boosting its denim sales overseas.

Following the installation of its so-called Denim Doctor digital kiosk in 38 Nordstrom locations across the U.S. over the past two years, the New York-based premium denim brand is eyeing an extension of the technology to the U.K. and also to the Middle East.

In the U.K., which represents its second largest market with retailers such as Harrods, Trilogy and Liberty, the company is positioning Harvey Nichols as the destination for the February introduction of an iPad equipped with custom RFID tags, 360-degree imagery and filters that prescribe the perfect fit after processing information about a customer’s body type, fabric preferences and lifestyle. By the summer, it hopes to set up the white, narrow kiosk in Dubai.

“In the premium market, there is so much more, especially when it comes to branding — who is your new face and this and that and which celebrity is wearing it,” said Sarah Ahmed, creative director of DL1961. “No one talked about the actual features behind the denim.”

DL1961 spring 2017 Hepburn jeans

The Hepburn jeans from DL1961’s spring collection. 

It’s a different way of expanding the brand following the conclusion of its two-season collaboration with Jessica Alba. Ahmed said she came up with the concept after spending a lot of time in stores. Her mandate was: “We need to find a way to communicate to the customer what our unique selling proposition was,” she recalled. Her brother, a wiz with creating apps, wrote the computer code when he was 15.

The data has upheld their conviction. Even though DL1961 declined to disclose actual figures, it said the digital kiosk in Nordstrom’s unit on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, which is the brand’s top denim location, helped to increase sales 67 percent this fall from a year ago. In the same period, at the Nordstrom in downtown Seattle, DL1961 recorded a 98 percent increase in sales. Even stores that received the Denim Doctor iPads for fall 2016 have seen a 16 percent rise in sales thus far from the spring season, when no kiosks were available at the time.

Ahmed noted that since men are “impatient” when it comes to shopping for jeans, the target audience for the digital kiosk is women, who spend about three to four minutes on each tech search. The results for their searches pull from half of the line and most of them are stocked in the store.

“Denim is such a utilitarian thing and yet it is so personal,” she said. “To help people understand which denim fits for their lifestyle is key.”